Putting pain into words
I’ve just read this.
It’s strange how things materialise, and make you just say… Yes, that’s me.
Right down to the daily pot smoking, I’ve been here.. I am here.. And it’s tough.
From the outside, it just looks like I can’t be bothered, like I don’t care.
And I can’t, and don’t, but not for the reasons someone not living inside my head might imagine. I’ve had so many arguments with my partner. She thinks I’m paranoid, caused by the cannabis… Maybe she’s right, but that’s not why I continue to smoke.
It all started 24 months ago, I guess. My new boss at work was a complete micro-manager, and worse, he took a lot of credit for things I accomplished. A good example; after completing an office move and merger, and getting the new office ready and everything moved, by managing the removal men, the cabling men, everything, I completed a very major piece of work. I worked weekends and late into the evening. As a result, the office lost a total of two hours work, far less than the predicted 3 days. And the moment I cleared the last fault, I wrote an email to tell everyone it was all completed, and thank everyone. I was about to hit send, when my inbox lit up, my boss had sent the exact same message, stating “I am pleased to announce that the work is complete.” Not a word of acknowledgement for my work. So 2 minutes later, his boss walks into the office, pats him on the back, shakes his hand, says thanks to the whole room, and walks out. I’ve spent a total of 80 hours in the past week, alone, getting things sorted, he can’t have spent more than an hour.
Anyway, I digress.. I guess I’m still quite angry over the unfair treatment I received at that company, there are loads of other examples. To receive my marching orders less than 12 months was insulting. It also left me smoking more, to try to cope with the stress, otherwise I just took it out on my partner.
A short while before losing my job, my step-son was involved in a major road accident, nearly lost his left hand, broke both arms and wrists, and lost all feeling below the break in both sides.
Then I find a very senior member of the business pushing to use a company that he was on the board of directors for, that I caught faking credentials in order to gain our business, I report this up the line, and then, while on a work trip, I see him, I’m being given devils eyes, a week later, 2 days after I return, I’m out. Connected? I don’t know.
So I start smoking more. I know it’s not the answer, but it stops me asking the question. “What did I do to deserve this?”
Then, I start running out of dope, my dealer has left. So I think it’s a great idea to go to Amsterdam to get some more. On my way back, I get caught by German police. Hell.
A short while later, while out on my motorbike for the first time after the frosts, I crash, breaking 8 bones, and nearly killing myself. My partner, a nurse, is unable to fully comprehend the extent of my injuries, and in the confusion caused by morphine, I discharge myself from hospital the following day, but don’t get my prescription filled. So I go home without painkillers. So I pile a joint with a ton of dope, and smoke myself into a pain free world.
This continues for 6 weeks, while I learn to walk and move. While I go through 3 months of physio. Just waiting for my body to repair itself.
During this time, I get a letter from the German courts. A huge fine, and a criminal record for importing. This was all for personal use, how could it be? I’m in tears for an hour. Then I get myself stoned, take the pain away. Good idea. Only it doesn’t work, and my pain gets worse. I’m in a full on emotional breakdown, so I do the only thing I can think of.. Call the Samaritans. So I do.
I tell the man my story. I’m living in a strange country, I don’t speak the language, I’ve no friends, I lost my job, I’m completely isolated, I don’t think my wife loves me, I crashed my bike, I’m addicted to cannabis.
He asks me if I’m thinking of taking my life. I think about it for a short while. “No, I’m just struggling every day to find reasons not to think about taking my life. Being dead would be easier, but I’m afraid.”
We talk for a couple of hours. My sobbing slowly abates. I thank him, and put down the phone with a promise to call back any time if I need to. I ask his name, he tells me that everyone in Samaritans uses the same name.
So next I call a solicitor. In Germany. She tells me how much it will cost to represent me, I can’t afford it, but neither can I afford the fine, nor having a criminal record for a stupid mistake. So I agree.
We spend some time with nothing major happening, but I realise that there were 3 months that I didn’t pay any taxes. Not good. I keep this from my partner, thinking I’d be ok.
Then a water pipe bursts. It’s going to cost thousands to repair. Thousands that I had thought might be for paying back taxes and fines.
Then the van needs repairs. Another couple of thousand.
So I smoke more. I argue more with my partner. I smoke more.
Finally, in December, we have a big discussion about smoking and life and so on.
This is time to try to voice everything that has happened.
I get a first few words out, then all hell breaks loose again. This time I’m feeling like I’m not being heard. As a nurse, my partner knows all the tricks drug addicts use to maintain their addictions, as an ex-social worker, and an ex-smoker/drinker, so do I. I think.
But I’ve never felt this feeling of emptiness and hopelessness that I feel at the moment. I try to explain. “It’s not that I want to hide in this shell of safety that dope gives me, it’s that nothing outside that shell has got any better. All the triggers that took me on this steep decline are there. I’m bored. I’m alone. I’m out of work. Things are shitty between us.” Something needs to change, I’m just not sure what, or how.
But this isn’t the end of the conversation. And I hear something she said. “Nothing good is going to change until you change it. “
So New Years Resolution. 1st January. Deal with my dope addiction.
I would say I am doing quite well. Not as well as I would like, but it’s tough. And I AM trying. It’s just that I make a few steps forward, and then fall back a bit. But I’m trying.